Hotel sector gets a boost with revamped job redesign scheme

For a start, 200 hotel staff can look forward to enhanced careers involving adoption of technology

In a hotel in the future, front-office staff trained in data analytics will be experts at tailoring personalised tour itineraries, while housekeepers will be able to track room cleanliness using mobile applications, and robots will be used for cleaning.

In the kitchen, chefs will be proficient in food waste management and sensors will track stock levels.

This is the vision for the Covid-19-battered hotel industry in Singapore, thanks to a revamp of the Job Redesign Reskilling (JRR) Programme.

The revamp was announced by Workforce Singapore (WSG) yesterday, along with the release of the 19th edition of the jobs situation report.

Sixteen roles that would require technology know-how have been identified. These include rank-and-file positions such as those of guest-experience designers and food and beverage ambassadors, as well as professional, manager, executive and technician roles, from technician sustainability specialists to human resource generalists.

Hotels looking to participate in the revamped programme must offer job redesign projects that involve the adoption of technology.

Previously, the programme was open to all roles and covered three types of job redesign projects: Cross-functional redeployment, creation of new roles and technology adoption.

With the revamp, hotels can also tap pre-approved training plans. In addition, workers whose jobs are being redesigned will have to go through a minimum of six days of external classroom training, on top of up to 54 days of on-the-job or in-house classroom training.

Previously, hotels had to propose their own training plans. Staff were also not required to go for external classroom training, and could pick up skills through on-the-job training.

The JRR programme was introduced in November 2019 to help hoteliers train existing workers to take on redesigned roles. Under the revamped programme, for a start, 200 hotel workers can look forward to enhanced careers, said WSG.

WSG chief executive Tan Choon Shian said: "Despite the deep impact of Covid-19, the hotel industry has remained resilient, adaptive and a key part of Singapore's economy and workforce."

Hotels that have implemented new technology or systems in the past year or are looking to do so in the coming months can tap the revamped programme to support their efforts.

They can receive up to 90 per cent of the course fee funding and salary support for the duration of training, capped at three months.

The JRR programme was revamped by the WSG, the Singapore Hotel Association, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAWU).

FDAWU president Julie Cheong said: "Companies will get more resources to transform, and workers will enjoy better work prospects and have more opportunities in the hotel industry to work towards."

Since the JRR programme rolled out about two years ago, more than 1,400 workers from over 55 hotels have undergone reskilling and embarked on new or enhanced roles.

This has helped overcome the manpower crunch in some hotel operations and excess manpower in others during the pandemic.

STB's director of hotel and sector manpower, Ms Tan Yen Nee, encouraged more hotels to participate so that they could "continue to attract and retain talents by offering meaningful and sustainable hotel careers to Singaporeans".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2021, with the headline 'Hotel sector gets a boost with revamped job redesign scheme'. Subscribe